In search of ponies: Gadgets not limited to human

By Sharna Johnson: CMI columnist It was around the 14th century or so when some anonymous irreverent farmer took a highly prized religious implement and hung it from the neck of his best sheep — and thus the precious bell was transferred down from the upper echelons of the priesthood, literally to the herd. No […]

Local farmer meets with congressmen

Freedom New Mexico Clovis dairy farmer Wayne Palla traveled to Capitol Hill recently with other Dairy Farmers of America Inc. board members and young cooperators to discuss issues affecting the dairy industry, according to a DFA news release. DFA members and staff met in Washington, D.C., for the cooperative’s annual D.C. Board Meeting and Hill […]

Farmer: Cotton good planting option

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Freedom New Mexico: Argen Duncan Chet Chenault, left, and Colin Chandler check the depth of cotton seeds planted by machine last week in Chandler’s field northwest of Portales. Chandler said cotton seeds must be planted about three-fourths of an inch deep. Argen Duncan Despite the drought and wind, a cotton farmer says the crop is […]

Clovis dairy farmer re-elected to DFA board

CNJ staff Dairy Farmers of America Inc.’s Board of Directors has re-elected Wayne Palla, a Clovis dairy farmer, as first vice chairman of the board, according to a news release from DFA. Palla is a member of DFA’s Executive Committee and chairman of the Southwest Area Council, as well as being involved in other dairy-related […]

Tractors bring back memories

It was a sound I heard when I was young but rarely hear today. Listening to the old two-cylinder tractors at the N.M. Ag Expo this week it was easy to remember the sight of an old farmer on a Poppin’ Johnny tractor, plowing two to four rows and remembering the smell of fresh turned […]

Commodities market risky

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Alisa Boswell: Portales News-Tribune A truck waits to be filled with grain Friday afternoon at the JD Heiskell Holdings LLC grain elevators in Portales. The market for agricultural commodities, including corn and wheat, has become volatile due to speculative trading, farmers and grain dealers said. Argen Duncan Speculation in agricultural commodities markets is causing greater […]

Roosevelt farmer pleads guilty on drug charges

Argen Duncan In a plea agreement, Roosevelt County farmer William “Billy Joe” Watson has pleaded guilty to transporting anhydrous ammonia for methamphetamine manufacture across state lines. Under federal charges, Watson was accused of buying anhydrous ammonia in Texas and in New Mexico and giving it to federal agents he believed were members of the Aryan […]

Peanut yields up

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Argen Duncan: Portales News-Tribune Brian Clark Jr. waits for a trailer to fill with peanuts Wednesday at Portales Select Peanut Company Inc. The machine separates dirt and debris from the nuts, which are then sent to be dried or, in this case, graded. Argen Duncan The peanut harvest this year has brought in higher-than-normal yields […]

Roping event to honor Curry County farmer

Argen Duncan A team roping event set for October aims to honor a Curry County farmer, benefit children and raise money for agriculture advocacy. The inaugural Charles Petty Memorial Team Roping Event is to raise money for the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, a lobby group for farmers and ranchers, and the New Mexico Baptist Children’s […]

Extension office hosting workshop

CNJ staff The Curry County Extension Office is hosting a farmer’s market workshop 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the extension office. Topics covered include crop diversification, season extension, value-added products, record keeping, enterprise budgets, marketing and sales strategies. Speakers include New Mexico State University extension specialists and agents, agriculture professionals and local farmers […]

Watson murder trial handed over to jury

By Argen Duncan: Freedom New Mexico Roosevelt County farmer William “Billy Joe” Watson’s fate was handed over to a jury late Monday. Watson is accused of hiring an Aryan Brotherhood gang member to kill local rancher Jimmie Bo Chunn. Attorneys finished final arguments earlier in the day and the jury had not reached a verdict […]

Press Release: Farwell farmer earns national award

TULSA – Ryan Williams, a crop and cattle farmer from Farwell, Parmer County, Texas was chosen as one of four National Outstanding Young Farmers by The United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) on February 13 at their 2010 Awards Congress in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ryan Williams has always wanted to raise his family on the land […]

Trial begins in Roosevelt slaying

By Argen Duncan: Freedom New Mexico Opening arguments began Thursday in the slaying trial of Roosevelt County farmer William “Billy Joe” Watson. Watson is accused of hiring Aryan Brotherhood member Donald Taylor, a Rogers native, to kill Causey rancher Jimmy Bo Chunn, 71, in July 2005 in exchange for providing anhydrous ammonia for methamphetamine manufacture. […]

Murder-for-hire trial set to begin

Freedom New Mexico The murder-for-hire trial of Roosevelt County farmer William “Billy Joe” Watson is scheduled to begin with opening arguments 9 a.m. Thursday in the Roosevelt County Courthouse. Watson is accused of hiring Rogers native Donald Taylor — a member of what authorities call the race-based criminal group Aryan Brotherhood — to kill Causey […]

Consequences will always follow us

By Judy Brandon: CNJ religion columnist An illustration that I remember my preacher father using during his ministry is a good lesson on reaping what one sows. The story goes that a farmer in a rural area posted a “No Trespassing” sign on one of his fields because some rambunctious neighbor boys had been cavorting […]

Roosevelt County farmer could still face death penalty despite repeal

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Even though the death penalty was repealed in New Mexico, a Roosevelt County farmer accused of arranging a murder-for-hire still faces possible execution. Prosecutors filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against William “Billy Joe” Watson last August. Watson is accused of conspiring with the Aryan […]

Women play significant role in agriculture

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Freedom New Mexico photo: Argen Duncan Michelle Heavyside of Greenfield Park Dairy watches a cow and newborn calf on the dairy. While Heavyside doesn’t work with the cows, she is active in dairy-related organizations, supports her husband in his dairy work and keeps up with industry issu By Argen Duncan: Freedom New Mexico The classic […]

Ingle ready to lead Legislature

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Freedom New Mexico: Argen Duncan State Sen. Stuart Ingle expects the financial shortage to be the biggest issue in this year’s Legislative session. Here, he sits in his Portales home next to photos of his daughters. By Argen Duncan: Freedom New Mexico Hunter, family man, farmer, state senator for 24 years. Portales resident Stuart Ingle […]

In Tribute: County farmer loved to fly

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By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer With the possible exception of a game of golf around the world, Allen Rogers didn’t take a break from working, or writing about the work he had to do. “He never retired,” daughter Marty Lamb said. “Even before he died, he was on the lawn mower … and he […]

Grady farmer appointed to state livestock bureau

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CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Pat Woods, a fourth generation farmer and rancher in the Grady area, was named the second vice president of the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau in November. By Argen Duncan: Freedom New Mexico “I don’t think farmers are a bunch of stupid people in bib overalls,” said New Mexico […]